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Details of the Bankruptcy of Amyris, Manufacturer Turned Incubator

Published August 14, 2023
Published August 14, 2023

Amyris is exiting the consumer brand business, shutting down three brands, including Costa Brazil and retailer Onda Beauty. The company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and will sell off the remaining brands. 

WHO: Founded in 2003 with Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation funding, Amyris began making anti-malaria drugs, shifting to the research, development, and production of sustainable ingredients for the Clean Health and Beauty and Flavors & Fragrances markets. Ultimately, the business model evolved to focus on business innovation on the supply side while creating a portfolio of consumer brands.

The consumer beauty and wellness portfolio: Biossance, 4U by Tia, Stripes, Onda Beauty (shuttered), MenoLabs, Terasana (shuttered), Costa Brazil (shuttered), EcoFabulous (shuttered), Olika, JVN Hair, Rose Inc, Pipette.

WHY: The company has always struggled with profitability. The changing beauty landscape and growing operational costs created an unsurmountable liquidity crunch. Amyris plans to return to its roots of developing bio-based materials after shedding its consumer portfolio and restructuring the company's cost structure, capital structure, and liquidity position after exiting bankruptcy proceedings.

IN THEIR OWN WORDS: "Since its founding 20 years ago, Amyris has been a pioneer in the development of ingredients made with synthetic biology and has enjoyed great commercial success, particularly as a result of our innovative Lab-to-Market technology platform, proven ability to rapidly bring new products to market, and state-of-the-art science and manufacturing infrastructure," said Han Kieftenbeld, Interim Chief Executive Officer and Chief Financial Officer of Amyris. "Over the past months, we have been hard at work on a strategic transformation plan to reduce costs, improve operational effectiveness, and achieve sustainable growth. We believe the step forward our company has taken today puts us on the best path to address our financial challenges and achieve a comprehensive solution—rooted in Amyris' ground-breaking science, formulation capabilities, and technology."

Mr. Kieftenbeld added, "Our aspiration to become the most efficient and productive biotechnology company in our industry has not changed. We remain incredibly excited about Amyris' long-term potential and our uniquely talented team's proven ability to deliver on the promise of synthetic biology and continue to make a lasting impact. At the end of this restructuring process, we believe that Amyris will emerge as a financially stronger company with a more focused business model and well-defined path to profitability. In turn, we will be poised to grow sustainably alongside our valued partners and make an even greater impact on our world through clean chemistry."


  • Amyris commenced voluntary Chapter 11 proceedings in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware. 
  • The bankruptcy court filing in Delaware company listed estimated assets in the range of $500 million to $1 billion and liabilities in the range of $1 to $10 billion.
  • Amyris has secured a commitment from an entity affiliated with existing lender Foris Ventures for $190 million of debtor-in-possession (DIP) financing to support continued day-to-day operations as the company works with its key stakeholders to negotiate a consensual go-forward plan centered on Amyris' core capabilities. 
  • Amyris is planning to exit its consumer brands and will begin marketing them for sale, with the aim of having these brands continue to leverage Amyris' cutting-edge science and technology while under new ownership. As the sale process progresses, Amyris will continue to operate these brands through retail partners and the brand's e-commerce platforms.
  • In February, it sold its proprietary sugarcane-derived squalane ingredient to Givaudan for $200 million cash and $150 million in performance-based earnouts, a deal it previously expected to yield $350 million cash.

Transaction and Brand Incubation Timeline 

January 2023: 4U by Tia, a haircare line developed with actress and entrepreneur Tia Mowry, launched with a Walmart exclusive in 2,800 stores.

February 2023: Givaudan acquired cosmetic ingredients from Amyris, including Neossance Squalane, Neossance Hemisqualane, and CleanScreen, for $200 million cash and $150 million in earnouts.

October 2022: Stripes, a perimenopausal wellness brand founded in partnership with actress, entrepreneur, and activist Naomi Watts, launched.

April 2022: Amyris made its first retail acquisition, snapping up Onda Beauty co-founded by Larissa Thompson, Sarah Bryden-Brown, and actress Naomi Watts with two stores in Tribeca and Sag Harbor. The brand is being shut down.

January 2022: Amyris acquired the assets of MenoLabs, a subscription-based and Amazon-first business focused on addressing perimenopause and menopause symptoms founded by Danielle Jacobs, Vanessa Ford, and John P. Konhilas, PhD, an Associate Professor with the Department of Physiology and Sarver Molecular Cardiovascular Research at the University of Arizona.

February 2021: Amyris acquired Terasana, a beauty brand focused on sustainably sourced natural cannabinoids. This year the brand has been quietly winding down.

March 2021: Amyris acquired Costa Brazil, the clean beauty concept launched in 2018. Founder Francisco Costa became the Chief Creative Officer of Amyris. The brand is being shut down. 

April 2021: Amyris acquired a 70% stake in Gen Z–focused brand EcoFabulous, founded by Marissa Shipman. After an overhaul, the brand relaunched with affordable makeup and skincare in October 2022 and has recently been quietly shut down.

April 2021: Amyris acquired Beauty Labs, an employee-owned technology company that pioneers the future of enhanced reality in beauty and wellness.

June 2021: Amyris acquired Olika, founded in 2017, transforming the hygiene category through transparency and safe ingredients packaged in beautiful, nature-inspired design.

August 2021: JVN Hair launched as a collaboration between Amyris and Jonathan Van Ness: hair stylist, Emmy-nominated television personality, New York Times best-selling author, and podcaster.

August 2021: Amyris and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley's Rose Inc. brand collaborated on a clean makeup range leveraging the success of Huntington-Whiteley's digital community, Rose Inc., which brings together beauty professionals and conscious beauty enthusiasts.

September 2019: Amyris incubated Pipette, a clean personal care brand for babies and moms with their proprietary sugarcane-derived squalane as the hero ingredient.

2016: Amyris launched Biossance, its first brand based on the company's plant-based squalane, derived sustainably from sugarcane. The brand launched in Sephora in 2017 and has been the crown jewel of the consumer portfolio.


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